Samir Nasri insists he is enjoying his soccer again at Manchester City and acknowledges that new boss Manuel Pellegrini reminds him of Arsene Wenger.
The French midfielder endured a difficult time last season under Roberto Mancini, struggling to impose himself as City limply surrendered the Premier League title to rival Manchester United.
But Nasri appears to have a new lease of life in a more attacking system at the Etihad Stadium this season, and says his good relationship with Pellegrini has played a part.
“Last year was a bit difficult for me personally because of the problem I had in the Euros and other stuff,” he told the Daily Mirror. “So this summer I cleared my head and came back with the determination to have a great season. But, right now, everything is fine. I’m in a better place – and that’s what I want. [Pellegrini] does remind me of Arsene in respect of the way he works.
“He has the same approach in the way he talks to players and tells them when things are good and when they are bad. But it is always constructive and you always know what he wants from you, and what he wants you to bring to the team. I feel that he trusts me and that he gives me responsibilities on the pitch. When you have a manager like that, you want to repay that sort of faith – and that’s what I’m trying to do.”
Nasri believes he produces his best when he is enjoying his soccer, saying he still has a burning passion for the game.
“I have to smile because we, as footballers, are really lucky to do the job we do. But this is not just a job for me,” he added. “It’s my passion. So I have to play with a smile, because that’s when I’m at my best.”